By: Luke Grilli (@LGrilli88)

Most years, there are elite options available in your rookie draft. Looking at the 2012 rookie draft, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Doug Martin were most likely taken with Top 4 picks and will produce as elite options for the foreseeable future. They turned heads during their impressive rookie season and are being drafted very high at their respective positions in Dynasty Start Up Drafts.

Going back one more year and evaluating the 2011 rookie draft, AJ Green and Julio Jones were taken early and have cemented themselves as elite option for their owners in a mere two seasons. Coming into season three (the season where most NFL WRs take the next step), each player is being taken within the Top 3 WRs. Of course, with every Andrew Luck or Julio Jones, there are two or three Delone Carters, a player who is taken with a Top 7 pick and unable to sniff the field…ah the joy of rookie drafts!

So where do I think the 2013 rookie class ranks in comparison to past draft classes? Well, if you take a look at the title of the article (for those too lazy to move their eyes up 6 inches- 2013: The Year of the 2nd Round Rookie Pick), then it is pretty obvious. I am not impressed with the talent available and the price you will have to pay for it. Players like Giovani Bernard, Tavon Austin and Montee Ball should post quality (NOT ELITE) stats in 2013 and beyond, but after them there are plenty of question marks. Plus, unless you have a top 3 pick, you probably aren’t drafting any of those players.

2013 Rookies that have an early first round pick price tag that I have major questions about:

  • Le’Veon Bell fell into a nice spot in Pittsburgh, but how effective will he really be and will he have to share time with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer?
  • Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin were poised to get drafted to RB needy teams and put up quality stats before the draft, but once they both got drafted by Green Bay both of their values took a hit.
  • Cordarelle Patterson could be a weapon for Christian Ponder, but will he be able to put  together his raw skills and be a quality pro (and can Ponder get him the ball?!?)?
  • There is no question about Marcus Lattimore’s skill, but his much discussed injury history and “redshirt season” in 2013 would make me think twice about taking him in the first round.

You came here for suggestions, right? Well that is exactly what I will give you. If you are a quality team with a Top 10 pick, do yourself and trade that pick for a few 2nd rounders and a quality veteran or two. It’s OK, I can wait……………………………… Alright, how did that go?

A trade scenario I would suggest is something along these lines (obviously dependent on your team needs)

Using a 12 Team PPR league in this scenario

Team A Trades:
1.07 (According to ADP Cordarrelle Patterson)

Team B Trades:
2.03 (According to ADP Aardon Dobson)
2.09 (According to ADP Stedman Bailey)
Donnie Avery and/or Danny Woodhead

Team A has my mind set. They are willing to pass on a project with a high ceiling for two more depth picks and a quality veteran. Aaron Dobson has a real chance to be Tom Brady’s WR2 and while Stedman Bailey is being overshadowed by his college teammate Tavon Austin in St. Louis, Bailey posted a crazy 2012 stat line at WVU of 114 catches for 1,622 yards and 25 TDS. Read that again for me, 114 catches for 1,622 yards and 25 TDS. Those numbers won’t be duplicated in St. Louis, but I believe that Bailey has a real chance to be a contributor in 2013 or 2014. On top of those two rookie WRs, the 1.07 pick can net you a quality WR4 or RB3/RB4 in Avery and/or Woodhead respectively.
One note on Aaron Dobson. I honestly believe that he will win the starting job in New England . As we get closer to the season, his ADP will creep up into the 1.10-1.12 solely due to the “Tom Brady Factor”. If starting for the Pats, Dobson could post a 2013 stat line of 60 catches for 900 yards and 8 TDs, making him a quality weekly starter for your squad.

Here are a few other players being drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round of rookies drafts whose ADP I would target when moving a first round pick.

  • Markus Wheaton (ADP 2.02)- Antonio Brown is the only proven pass catcher in the Steelers offense. Wheaton could carve himself a nice little role.
  • Robert Woods (ADP 2.04)- Lining up opposite Stevie Johnson, Woods is an excellent route runner and should thrive in Buffalo
  • Christine Michael (ADP 2.07)- High Risk, High Reward. Many scouts had Michael as their top RB in the class, but off field concerns soured some teams. Michael should fight for the RB2 job behind Marshawn Lynch, whose seasons of elite RB numbers may be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Michael is definitely a long term project RB.
  • Terrence Williams (ADP 3.01)- The eventual successor to Miles Austin? The Cowboys always post gaudy passing numbers and Williams could be a direct benefactor of that.
  • Matt Barkley (ADP 3.10)- Again, a project here. With neither Foles or Vick lighting the world on fire, Barkley has a real chance to get playing time in the high flying Chip Kelly offense.

So here is the bottom line. If you have the chance to grab the next  RG3 or Trent Richardson, you absolutely have to take it, unless someone offers you a king’s ransom.  I’m not saying that “Trade Back” strategy I laid out is a year in/year out strategy, but I think it will work in2013. The top tier or rookies in 2013 would probably be a 2nd tier group in any other class and there is plenty of value after pick 12. Don’t get jaded by the 1st round tag and remember that Montario Hardesty was once a 1st round pick. Move that early pick to grab some quality talent and help your team in the long run.

You can let me know what you think about this strategy by posting in the comments or saying your piece on Twitter.